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I don't have much time to write this as I am on my way to school so forgive me if this rambles a bit.
I am a music teacher in Gresham / Barlow School District. Elementary music and PE have been cut in half here as well as counselling. Besides music and PE many teachers will be losing their jobs. This is the tip of the iceberg. Every aspect of our schools has been and will be hard hit. We went through a horrible process of prioritizing cuts for next year. Next year children with special needs will be mainstreamed into the classrooms which will already have huge enrollments. If the model is consistent with what we have this year their will be grossly inadequate personnel support. At the same time the district receives $500,00 from the federal government to open an on-line middle school and is actively pursuing students to attend. This could mean more cuts to the middle schools as the funding shifts. We have several other charter schools in the district that directly received money from the state and are not held to the same regulations as we are. The Montessori charter school boasts small class sizes of about 20. Teachers in the regular public schools have been pleading for low class size for years. Our district received a substantial increase in Title 1 funds that cannot be used to alleviate these obvious problems of overcrowding and lack of resource. Rather the district is using the money to hire instructional coaches for staff development (to meet the requirements of the grant). I fear the federal stimulus money that we will receive will have such strings attached that it will not help the essential problems in the school. I predict there will be an exodus of students from the regular public schools into charter schools which our run much looser than pulic schools and don't have to deal with special needs, poverty, ethnicity,etc. This could leave the public schools in a terrible situation which could resemble the segregated, elitist schools of the past. It is very sad to see. The federal and state requirements associated with NCLB have had a negative impact on the innovative and exciting educational practices that were a hallmark of the Gresham Schools in the past.
posted 4 years ago
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